Q. My understanding is that an employee must file a charge of sex discrimination with the EEOC or the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) within 180 days. I have been told by the EEOC that it will investigate charges filed within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory act. Which is correct?
A. The period of time allowed to file a charge of discrimination with the MDCR in Michigan is 180 days (Mich. Admin. Code, R 37.4). The time for filing with the EEOC is also 180 days, unless the charging party “has initially instituted proceedings with a State or local agency,” in which case the charging party has 300 days to file with the EEOC (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)).
This seems pretty simple—the charging party must file somewhere within 180 days. But that is not how the EEOC sees it. The EEOC takes the position that a charge will be processed if filed within 300 days, even if the employee did not file as required with the state agency (in Michigan, it would be with the MDCR) within 180 days. I have fought the EEOC on this issue, and it is unrelenting.
Just as an aside, a charging party can file a civil lawsuit in Michigan without having filed a charge with either the EEOC or the MDCR. The statute of limitations is three years.
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